Radio Industry Word Games and Clear Channel


I found this unusual on Tuesday, 1-20-09.  While one man was inaugurated as this nation’s 44th president, over 1,850 people were shown the door at multiple local Clear Channel headquarters; yet not one radio industry trade reported that anyone was "fired."

As suggests, one can get fired "to inflame, as with passion; fill with ardor." Or a person can simply be fired, as in "to dismiss from a job," which also comes from

But nobody got fired on Tuesday, 1-20-09.

It comes down to a choice of phrasing for particular needs; radio industry trades don’t want to alienate the leaders of radio groups. It’s a game. Yesterday people in radio were dismissed, shown-the-door, cut from the payroll, and even "escorted" to the parking lot. How odd no one was "fired."

The radio industry works on words, which is why I’m wondering why no editor in a major radio industry trade publication would allow the word "fired" in stories about 1,850 Clear Channel employees being "let go" under cover of the inauguration. It would have been so forthcoming.

Forthcoming. There’s another word I’d like to spend a couple of sentences on. gives it four listings as an adjective. I’m interested in two; the one stating its meaning as "approaching in time," and the one mentioning "frank and cooperative." We already know where Clear Channel stands on that.

In a world of consolidated radio, where do 1,850 people go?

The approximately fifty people who were fired by Clear Channel in Cleveland, Ohio can turn to CBS, Salem, Radio One, or one independent station owned by a person of the highest ethical standards – Robert Conrad. Though, I’m sure that none will be able to hire. It’s the depressed economy, haven’t you heard?

While the economy is playing a part in the destruction of our broadcast radio industry, it was the self-destruction of radio’s product (programs and commercials) that initiated the damages we see today.

Carefully-chosen words within radio industry publications, which refuse to use the word "fired" today, have been used over the past dozen years to hide the destruction of a once highly-respected radio industry. CEOs hiding behind mahogany doors have also carefully chosen their words to hide their ignorance in transitioning to whatever it is the public demands. They do, however, know how to relieve people of their careers under the guise of "…facing an unprecedented time of distress in the general economy." Thank you, Mark Mays, a leader in a dwindling empire.

Cutting jobs is being touted as radio’s only recourse and, of course, that’s not considered a firing. It’s "preservation," a positive word that seems to be getting bigger play today.

Where do so many former radio industry employees go? When will there be a ray of hope offered to the thousands who have been fired from their radio industry jobs over the past few months?

Firing leaves the radio industry with hardware, like studios and transmitters, but not enough people on the payroll to do broadcasting correctly. Industry leaders are only pretending to do local radio now.

According to, "pretending" is akin to saying they are only playing.
(source: Ken Dardis, Audio Graphics)

RBR/TVBR observation: We have to totally agree with Ken on this one. We at RBR did not use the word – Fired in our report. We do add to Ken’s viewpoint on one key element with Fired – Humane.
With planning at Clear Channel HQ someone would have thought of a more humane way on conducting business.

But the real kick in the teeth for all the Clear Channel employees dumped on the curb, in some cases extremely unceremoniously, was that there were still a few positive viewpoints to be found, even among the dumped, as quoted in an industry publication. “The only emotion is relief, and excitement of what lies ahead,” said one ex-employee. “Let’s face it – we were fat,” said another.

RBR/TVBR‘s usual policy regarding our competition is to more or less pretend it doesn’t exist. But any guesses where these Clear Channel-serving quotes came from? It does not take a profound grasp of the obvious to guess Clear Channel-owned “Inside Radio.” So the question about IR is: trade journal or corporate newsletter? You decide.

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